Week of March 23, 2020: Persuasive Speech

We did it, y’all – we got through the first week of digital learning! I appreciate everyone’s hard work so far, and it truly warms my heart to see all of you prioritizing your learning during this frankly scary and uncertain time.

Without getting too sappy, — that’s for another post — I just want to say how much I truly miss each and every one of you. My days are a bit empty without you all, and it’s just not the same. I miss Niy giggling every time I say “just kidding!” in class; I miss random acts of singing from Daria and Tana; I miss beaming with joy when I see Keaton finally allowing us to see just how smart he truly is; I miss jumping for high fives from Jamall; I miss Sophia’s whiteboard drawings.

I even miss the pile of tardy slips from Danny, having to get on Von a thousand times, and Scotty’s million and one questions every class period.

You, my students, are at the core of my work. You are cared for and you are loved. We will get through this together. 

Things are always changing, and a lot is still uncertain. I am being extremely flexible with deadlines, so please don’t stress yourselves out. Like last week, moving forward, I will post a suggested outline of what your weeks should look like and what needs to get done. Be proactive, be sure to manage your time wisely, and please do not hesitate to reach out if you ever need me, regardless of the time of day!

This week, we will start on our persuasive speeches. I know, I know, I told you all I wouldn’t make you do this on your own, but we’ve gotta do what we’ve gotta do at the moment! We will be taking this very slow and step by step, so please don’t worry! Please be sure to read the instructions thoroughly and review the resources!

This week, you will:

  1. Read the prompt and review the rubric for the persuasive speech
  2. Pick your topic
  3. State your claim and three reasons (please submit by Wednesday if possible!)
  4. Complete part of a KWL Chart (“K” and “W”)
  5. Write and submit a three-point thesis statement

Please review the steps below for directions and resources! Be sure to go in order and do your best to have everything submitted by midnight on Sunday, March 29th. 

1. Monday: Read the prompt and review the rubric for the persuasive speech

Review the prompt below (it is also on page 197 in Springboard):

Your assignment is to write and present an original, persuasive two- to three-minute speech that addresses a contemporary issue. It should include a clear claim, support, counterclaim, and conclusion/call to action. Incorporate rhetorical appeals and devices to strengthen your argument and to help you achieve your desired purpose.

Review the rubric here, being sure to pay attention to specific requirements: Persuasive Speech Rubric

2. Tuesday: Pick your topic

When choosing a topic, be sure to choose something that

  1. You genuinely care about (If you’re bored writing your essay, I’ll be bored reading it!)
  2. You actually know something about (even if it’s only basic knowledge)

The prompt asks you to choose a contemporary issue; if you don’t know what that means, consult a dictionary! 🙂

You should select a specific topic that has a provable component to it; that is, two people should be able to have a reasonable argument over your topic. Be sure to choose something important – that is, no “iPhone is better than Android,” conspiracy theories, or similar topics. 

There are only two topics you may NOT write about: abortion and gay marriage.

3. Wednesday: State your claim and three reasons

Once you have your topic, you will state your claim. Your claim is the stance you take on your topic. In other words, it is your primary argument.

  • Many arguments start with questions.
    • For example: Should teachers be paid more?
  • Answer your question with what you believe; yes or no?
    • For example: Yes, teachers should be paid more. 
  • Now put those together to write your claim statement.
    • For example: Teachers should be paid more. 
  • But wait — is that specific enough? Should ALL teachers be paid more? Just the experienced ones? Just the ones with high test scores? Even the “bad” ones? How much? Consider possible questions that may poke holes in your argument.
    • Then, make it more specific.
    • For example: All public school teachers should be paid a six-figure salary. 

And there you have your claim statement! All public school teachers should be paid a six-figure salary. Remember that a statement is just that – a statement – so if your is a question, it is NOT a claim statement!

Click here for a list of possible topics! However, you are NOT limited to this list!

  • Next, come up with some reasons to support your argument. The way I like to explain this in class is to visualize your worst enemy that you can throw your hardest arguments at! You CANNOT lose your argument to this person, so you’ve gotta bring your A Game!
    • For example, consider my claim statement: All public school teachers should be paid a six-figure salary. 
      • And my worst enemy says, “Absolutely not! Teachers already get paid enough.”
      • (Aw, hell naw.) Come at them with the FACTS!
        • Why should teachers get paid more? Many teachers often hold advanced degrees, teachers are required to work outside of work hours grading, planning lessons, creating assignments and assessments, and more, and increased pay will make the profession more attractive for young professionals. FACTS!
        • These are my top three arguments to support my claim.
  • Do Now: Action Steps
    • Please click here to submit your claim statement for approval. 
      • Please submit by Wednesday, March 25th if possible!
    • Click here to see others’ topics and check your status for approval or changes; only one person may write on one topic. If someone else has chosen your topic, you will have to choose something else.
      • A GREEN highlight on your claim statement means that your topic and reasons have been approved. A YELLOW highlight means your claim needs some work. If you receive a yellow highlight, Ms. Antonacci will email you directly with any changes that need to be made! 
      • However, you MAY choose the same topic, as long as your claims counter (or go against) each other. For example, one student may write that Chromebooks should replace textbooks in schools, while another argues that textbooks should NOT be replaced by Chromebooks.
    • Click here to access the research planning document. Click File > Make a Copy to make a copy of the document to your Google Drive so you can edit it. (Be sure you are signed into Google before clicking the link!)
      • You are ONLY completing the top two rows of this sheet this week — your claim statements and three reasons. You will record your research onto this document next week.

4. Thursday: Complete part of a KWL Chart

Consider your three reasons and what you will have to research to further hone your argument. What do you already know about this topic, and what do you want to know?

For example, to support my claim that teachers should be paid a six-figure salary, I want to know how much teachers currently make on average, how many teachers hold advanced degrees, how long teachers’ work days really are, what teachers are required to do outside of the classroom, how many college students are enrolled in teacher certification programs, and so on. The more educated you are about an argument, the easier it is to win it — think logos! 

  • Do Now: Action Steps
    • Click here to access the KWL chart. Click File > Make a Copy to make a copy of the document to your Google Drive so you can edit it. (Be sure you are signed into Google before clicking the link!)
      • This week, you are ONLY completing the “K” and “W” columns!

5. Friday: Write and submit a three-point thesis statement

What is a thesis statement?
A thesis statement is a guide to your paper. It tells the reader the subject matter, your argument, and what to expect from the rest of the paper. Usually, the thesis statement will come towards the end of the first paragraph.

Think of your first thesis as a “working thesis,” or a statement that is likely to change. Often, once you get into the body of the paper, you may discover that your thesis needs to be changed a bit as you discover more information.

Writing a good thesis statement:
When you are working on your thesis statement, keep these three tips in mind:

1. Make sure your thesis fits the scope of the paper. The scope means how long and how in-depth the research should be. If you only have two pages, you need to keep the thesis narrow enough to cover the argument adequately.
2. Don’t simply give a fact or make a statement that is obvious. For example, “An eating disorder is a serious disease” is a statement most would readily agree with. This is sometimes called a “so what?” thesis.
3. Do NOT start your thesis with “I believe…” or “In my opinion…” You are the author of the paper, so this is obvious to the reader. Using these types of phrases weakens the power of your statement.

Click here for Ms. Antonacci’s example!


As always, reach out if you need ANYTHING! I’m up pretty late these days, so don’t hesitate 🙂 Even if you’re just feeling lonely or bored and want someone to talk to, I’m here for you.

Until next time,

Ms. Antonacci ❤

Week of March 16, 2020: Rhetorical Appeals and Mini-Project

Good morning, everyone! Welcome to the first week of online instruction. Please make sure to check this blog daily and ensure you are staying on top of your work, as this is not a break from school. I know it may feel scary because of the many unknowns, but we will get through this together. As this is the first week, please be sure to read this blog post in its entirety so you are aware of the expectations.

Every Sunday, I will post the week’s upcoming assignments. Since you are responsible upperclassmen, I expect you to complete the week’s work in your own time and at your own pace. Please make sure to manage your time wisely, as you still have a full-schedule workload. I will post a suggested outline of your weekly assignments, but it is up to you to have everything for the week submitted to be by 11:59 pm every Sunday. Please see submission guidelines next to each individual assignment. 

Remember that I am here for you during this time. I will be available until 2 pm daily to answer any questions you may have about the work or if you need to talk about anything else. Please let me know if any links are broken or if you have trouble finding something. Remind messaging is the quickest way to get in contact with me. 

Like I said in class, be sure to continue taking care of yourself, and especially those older than you. Your health and safety is my top priority. Continue to wash your hands, avoid touching your face, physically distance yourself from others, and avoid crowded areas. If you get sick, please make sure to communicate this with me via email or Remind. I love you and will be thinking about you all. 

Assignments for Week of March 16th; suggested timelines below:

Everything for this week is due by 11:59 pm on Sunday, March 22nd; however, please submit assignments as you complete them. As stated above, PLEASE do not hesitate to reach out for ANYTHING! Stay safe; I love you all! 

Friday, March 13, 2020: President Obama’s National Address to Schoolchildren

As you know, we will be out of school “until further notice.” However, this is NOT a break! We will continue with instruction as usual, which will be delivered via my blog. Please make sure to visit this website daily to stay up with your work over this time. I will be available to you during the ELA “office hours,” which are from 1-2 pm. However, I will answer any questions you may have via Remind or email before 1 pm as well! More information will be given in class today.

obamas-speech-on-importance-of-educationToday, we will analyze President Obama’s National Address to Schoolchildren, annotating for rhetorical style. Please review your notes from yesterday regarding rhetorical style — not only do we need to look for instances of ethos, pathos, logos, and rhetorical devices, we also need to answer the “WHY” and the effect of each rhetorical strategy.

When analyzing for rhetorical style and effectiveness, remember to first consider the author’s purpose and intended audience! Everything in your analysis must tie back to purpose and audience.

Please click here to view President Obama’s speech!

Thursday, March 12, 2020: Rhetorical Appeals in “Speech to the Virginia Convention”


I hope you had a great early release day yesterday! Today, we will continue with Patrick Henry’s “Speech to the Virginia Convention.” Please also wish your first period classmate, Madison, a very happy birthday! 🙂 

Rhetorical Analysis of “Speech to the Virginia Convention”

Today, you will move on to identifying Henry’s use of ethos, pathos, and logos in the speech. Luckily, this should be fairly easy if you kept up with the annotations!

It’s much easier to identify the use of rhetorical appeals when they stand alone, such as in a review worksheet. However, for this assignment’s purposes, you will have to consider the audience’s perspective and decode Henry’s words to analyze the rhetorical appeals used.

Consider: Who is Patrick Henry’s audience? Think about the historical context we built yesterday – how do you think these men are feeling? Thinking? Worried about? They’re about to go against one of the most powerful military forces of this time!

When identifying rhetorical appeals, you must put yourself in the place of the audience. For example, a piece of text is not pathos necessarily because YOU felt “some type of way” about it – consider how Henry’s AUDIENCE would feel. What would scare them? Inspire them to fight?

Use the following information to guide your thinking as you complete the assignment:

ETHOS: Appeal to credibility, ethics, character

The ongoing establishment of a writer’s or speaker’s authority, credibility, and believability as he/she speaks or writes. Ethos appeals to ethics and character. Ethos seeks to persuade the reader that the writer/speaker can be trusted and believed due to his/her noble character or ethical ways in which he/she is presenting ideas.

Some Examples of Ethos:

  • Appeal to the writer’s/speaker’s believability, qualifications, character; relevant biographical information
  • Use of credible sources (experts, scholars)
  • Accurate citation of sources: gives credit where credit is due
  • Experience and authority: person knows the issues and has experience in the field
  • Appropriate language: uses language of the discipline
  • Appropriate tone: knows the audience and context of situation
  • Humility: is not arrogant
  • Uses tentative yet authoritative language; avoids sweeping statements like “Everyone is doing this,” “This is the only way,” “This will always work.” Instead says, “The research suggests that,” “Some experts believe,” “In my experience,” etc.

PATHOS: Appeal to emotion

The use of emotion and affect to persuade. Pathos appeals to the heart and to one’s emotions. Pathos seeks to persuade the reader emotionally. (Note that this can be ANY emotion.)

Some Examples of Pathos:

  • Appeal to the heart/emotion
  • Stories or testimonials
  • Personal anecdotes or stories
  • Personal connections
  • Imagery and figurative language that provokes an emotional response
  • Powerful words, phrases, or images that stir up emotion

LOGOS: Appeal to logic

The use of logic, rationality, and critical reasoning to persuade. Logos appeals to the mind and seeks to persuade the reader intellectually.

Some Examples of Logos:

  • Appeal to the mind/intellect
  • Draw from philosophy and logic
  • Facts
  • Statistics
  • If, then… statements
  • Definitions of terms
  • Explanation of ideas
  • Cause and effect
  • Logical reasons and explanations

Tuesday, March 10, 2020: “Speech to the Virginia Convention”

It’s Tuesday, so we’re starting with Lit Term Tuesday! Please be sure to get the notes from a friend if you were out today.

“Give me liberty or give me death!”

You may have heard this phrase before, which is the most famous line from Patrick Henry’s speech, “Speech to the Virginia Convention.” We will complete a first reading today, with a focus on identifying claim statements and evidence. Please also be on the lookout and annotating for rhetorical strategies and appeals used that we have covered in class (EPL, restatement, repetition, rhetorical question, etc.).

Monday, March 9, 2020: Start Unit 2

I hope you’re not to sleepy today because of Daylight Savings! I hope everyone had a great weekend with beautiful weather as well! 🙂

As usual, we will start the week with M.U.G. Monday. If you were out, please be sure to get the corrections and notes from a friend.

Flat style vector illustration, discuss social network, news, chat, dialogue speech bubblesToday, we will start on our next unit, The Power of Persuasion. This unit will focus on rhetoric, rhetorical appeals (ethos, pathos, logos), and rhetorical devices and strategies. We will be reading primarily nonfiction texts, and you will analyze for rhetorical effectiveness. For our unit writing, you will write a persuasive speech on a topic of your choice.

But before we get there, today, we will introduce rhetoric and take notes. Note-taking is a crucial skill for college, as professors often lecture to a class without any aids (no PowerPoints, writing on the board, etc.). Today, we will cover four different ways to take notes — please choose that one that most appeals to you and your learning style and try one out today.

Here are some tips for good note taking from the University of Washington:

  • Take notes in complete thoughts, but abbreviate, reduce, and simplify
    • Don’t try to write the profs lecture word for word. You will fall behind and miss something important. Don’t copy overheads unless the professor gives you time to do so.
  • Separate and label the notes for each class
    • Start a new set of notes for each day, clearly separated from the day before; it makes your notes easier to study.
  • Make your notes easy to read
    • It’s easier to study your notes if you can read them.
  • Be an aggressive note taker
    • Sit where you can hear and see the professor without straining. Stay alert.
  • Start taking notes when the professor starts talking
    • Don’t wait for a big thought to strike you. You could easily become distracted and miss the big thought.
  • Isolate and learn the specialized vocabulary
    • Write down and highlight difficult or new words. Write definitions, or look them up later.
  • Separate facts from opinion and add your own ideas
    • Note what is fact and what is the professor’s opinion. Add your own thoughts; write notes directly to yourself.
  • Develop your own set of symbols. Use them to identify or emphasize various items in your notes.
    • Use circles, underlines, or other symbols that will be meaningful to you.
  • Include pictures, diagrams and other visuals
    • Copying diagrams or other visuals helps you to understand concepts later. We tend to think in terms of pictures.
  • Take notes on discussion
    • Take notes when meeting with your tutor. Use notes you’ve taken in lecture to generate discussion with your tutor group.

4 Types of Note-taking:

Please click on each style to get an overview of how to take these kinds of notes.

  1. Outline style
    1. Start large and work down to details. Separate main ideas and get more specific in a hierarchical format.
  2. Cornell notes
    1. This is a specific style of note-taking that separates your notes from key words and comments in different columns. At the end of the lecture/presentation, you summarize the most salient points at the bottom of the page.
  3. Web/spatial notes (also called bubble maps, concept maps)
    1. This style of note-taking is for more spatial (non-linear) learners. Web or bubble notes give you the freedom to connect ideas and develop sub-categories in whatever way you like. electricity_concept_map
  4. Sketch notes
    1. This is for my artistic, doodle-loving students! Sketch notes utilize drawings, sketches, and symbols to create more artistic notes. However, make sure you’re not spending time making it look pretty instead of listening to the lecture!

Friday, March 6, 2020: Unit 2 Pre and Finalize Essay

Today, we will be taking our unit 2 pre-assessment. The purpose of this assessment is for me to recognize the class’s strengths and weaknesses so I can teach more effectively throughout the semester. This will ensure that we don’t waste time on concepts you’ve already mastered and work on what you will need in order to best prepare for the EOC at the end of the semester.

With that said, please take this assessment seriously. Although it is not necessarily for a grade, this is an opportunity for you to show me what you already know!

Please click here to log in to your assessment!

Student ID: CCSD ID (Lunch #)

Client ID: gacobb (all lowercase)

Once you are done…

  1. Finish peer editing, if necessary
  2. Put the final touches on your essay – make sure you are submitting a clean copy with no comments, suggestions, etc. 
  3. Complete this week’s USATP assignment

As a reminder, USATP and your essay are due by 11:59 pm this Sunday, March 8th!